The rise in number of youth being diagnosed with depression is quickly on the rise not to mention depression among women nation wide. 16.2 million adults in the U.S. have had at least one major depressive episode in a given year. Even more shockingly, these are only the ones that have been reported!
It’s heartbreaking to think that so many of us are dealing with the debilitating consumption of depression. On top of carrying the weight of emotions many are also carrying an increased shame because they are taking anti-depressants or they are struggling at home and having difficulty with their kids, husbands… then I think of our youth/young teen to collage age girls. If I as an adult have felt trapped and debilitated by the attack of depression I can’t imagine what our children are going through. This attack of shame tends to keep everyone in that state of defeat and I believe that we can all find healing, I did and am.
I talked with a friend recently who has been trying to conceive and she thinks that one of the reasons she can’t is because of her anti-depressant medicine. She tried to quit it cold turkey, but the side effects where so intense she had to go back on. That’s the thing with taking these, we become so dependent on them that we think we have to deal with the side effect of them for life. My friend believes there is no hope, but I’m here to tell you that there is – but it takes time, focus, and energy
*Disclaimer – if you are taking anti-depressants, you’ll need a doctor to supervise your slow decrease in dose. Please do not up and quit. Your body needs time to adjust and your mind needs time to heal and renew!!
Where do these thoughts come from?
I spent quite some time in depression. I felt like a failure in all areas of life and continued to talk to myself in the following ways:
- “I’m such a failure, I’m trying constantly to do better but I can’t seem to get it right”
- “I’m totally out of control and have no self-control to stop eating when I’m full, I might as well just quit trying and get fat”
- I’m such a failure, I promised myself I wouldn’t have a glass of wine, but did anyway, I can’t even keep promises to myself”
- “I’m so fat, no one is going to take my advise on how to eat and exercise properly because I am so bad at it myself”
- “I’m a horrible Christian, I want to help people know God more, but I fail and can’t seem to get things right”
- “I’m a horrible wife and mom, I just yelled at ___ and I’m such a mean person. Definitely not a good godly woman”
There have been so many more and they are lot more cruel than I could every image talking to anyone else. The questions that I was challenged with a few months ago was Who taught you how to think this way about yourself? Where are these thoughts coming from?
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. – Ephesians 6 V 12
In a few posts on my facebook page (Anchored Female Wellness) I mentioned that a relationship with God is the only way to a healthy weight, a healthy marriage and today I’m adding – a healthy thought life. I’ve always viewed the above scripture in a way of dealing with others, but I’ve never pointed it back at me. Our relationship with God and anchoring our worth in His opinion – only His – is the only way to overcome the attacks we face in our thoughts.
When the enemy attacks us, he uses first person words, making it seem like they are truth, believing every horrible thought as truth and as our worth. Honestly, the enemy deceives us so that he can keep us trapped in the bondage of our self-hate, self-shaming, self-rejection, guilt, self-disapproval, self-condemnation…
Let’s look at it scientifically, though
You may be thinking, this is hocus pocus churchy stuff, but hear me out for a second. Our negative thought patterns create pathways in our brains that tell our body to respond a certain way. They cause the hypothalamus to respond by lowering the levels of serotonin which causes feelings of sadness. And from there, unless we take our thoughts captive and do the work, we cycle in the pit of low-self worth until we don’t even realize how we ended up there in the first place.
The emotional turmoil and low self-esteem is reinforced by a biological chemical deficiency
That’s usually when we see a doctor and end up on a pill that has hundreds of side effects and causes a dependance on it vs. a dependency on our Heavenly Father.
Matthew 22v39 says “…and the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself”. (side note, when we can’t love ourselves we can’t make good changes or love anyone around us.. fits with depression feelings, right?!)
Now, the opposite of a negative thought life is a positive one. As we speak life to ourselves and to others our bodies also respond, this time by increasing serotonin which lifts our spirit, energy, self-view and purpose driven focus.
Philippians 4:8 tells us to think about things that are good, true, trustworthy, honorable, lovely, pure… pretty sure, that’s because God knows how He created us and He know what we need. It’s amazing how we have been given a book that tells us exactly how to be happy, healthy and whole, isn’t it 🙂
It is scientifically proven that we are a mind-body connection, but often times we leave out that we’re actually a spirit-mind-body connection. Our spiritual health – aka, our dependence on God not self is the only way to find healing of our mind and our body.
We are supposed to love ourselves, the creator of the whole universe knew everything you’d ever do and go through, and He still chose you! That’s powerful!
The power of our mind is something we all need to tap into more because with our thoughts we are either filled with life or death. If you struggle with depression, hold fast to the truth of being a child of God. No matter what you’ve done, no matter what you haven’t done… you are deeply and dearly loved! I encourage you to stand up against satan’s attempts to keep you in darkness and being to speak life over yourself.
so, now what, Practically?!
Here are some tips on how to start to renew your mind and take your thoughts captive (*disclaimer – do NOT get off your anti-depressants on your own, consult a doctor to help you in the process)
- Have thinking times that help you recognize the lies you’re meditating on and believing
- Are they causing sadness or building you up?
- Are they cruel and hurtful or loving and encouraging?
- Take every thought captive and weigh them against what God says about you (God can not lie!!)
- “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
- 3 John v 2 – prosper and be healthy
- Ephesians 6 v 12 – your battle is not against yourself it’s against the enemy and his attempts to keep you defeated
- Spend time in the Word because the Word of God is living and active and is your weapon against the attacks of satan.
- Pray first – God should be your first line of defence
- “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Josh. 1:9
- “For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deut. 20:4
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12
I don’t know all the answers and I know there are a lot of pain behind reasons you’re feeling depressed, but, don’t fight this battle alone! If you’re struggling with depression, please reach out, I’d love to support you on your journey to renewing your mind with truth.